The oak tree still has abundant golden foliage.
In contrast, the row of orchard trees is almost entirely bare.
We had a tremendous thunderstorm this evening – something very near us must have got hit.
Afterwards all was still and beautiful.
I took this photo looking up into the oak tree by the house.
At lunchtime today there was the sound of a chainsaw below the garden, just beyond our boundary.
Somehow the trees and bushes formed a peephole so I was able to see right down to the source of the noise.
A man was studying a big oak tree from which he’d evidently just cut some large branches.
He bent down and the chainsaw buzzed again.
Then suddenly, with a noise like a tooth being pulled out, the whole tree fell and disappeared into the undergrowth.
Oaks are protected in Italy once their girth is greater than 40 cm (or something like that) and special permission is required to remove a mature specimen.
I’m sure the man had permission, and a good reason for doing what he was doing, but there’s something in me that hates to see a tree cut down.
The photo shows the parasite which grows on a lot of the oak trees round here.
I call it yellow mistletoe, but it actually isn’t like standard kissing-bunch mistletoe at all, having different leaves – none of them in the typical pair.
Just the other day while exploring around the place, I came across two spherical bunches of white-berried, traditional mistletoe growing on a wild service tree.
They were too high to photograph properly let alone cut down. Otherwise I’d hang one above Clive’s sofa; it might sweeten the encounter due tomorrow with staff from the Rehabilitation Centre who have been looking askance at him ever since a third party stuck their oar in.
We’ve tried growing wallflowers in a few places round the garden but they insist on flourishing in one place only – under the big oak tree.
Consequently at leaf fall they get pretty much buried.
The other day to my surprise I spotted a few flowers peeping through here and there – maybe as a result of the long spell of sunny days.
At any rate, this warmly-coloured specimen has found its perfect foil in the dry leaves.
It’s not a yellow ribbon and it’s not around the oak tree, but it was the brightest thing in the garden on a day when a lot was talked about Clive’s imminent absence. Or not.
One man from the ambulance service (a kind and sensible man we know well) and four from the fire service (three men, one woman) arrived to gauge how to get Clive into the ambulance to go to the rehabilitation centre.
The fire people immediately began casting their eyes about to find props and equipment in the environment: mattresses, armchairs, sofa cushions (which don’t detach), benches, tables, pieces of wood.
They estimated, by eye, that the passageway between the patio door and the pool isn’t wide enough, but as they’d already judged a metre-long bench to be two metres, I was sceptical. Nor did I appreciate the glance they threw at the door frame (imaginary hatchet in hand), nor the woman among them describing the whole situation as ‘dramatic’. (A conflagration might be dramatic, but surely not a patient being transported to hospital.)
No sooner had they left than I received a phonecall from the rehabilitation centre.
“What equipment will the patient be bringing?”
“You mean, like the wheelchair and hoist which I phoned up yesterday to make sure you knew he didn’t have and which you said you’d provide?”
“Yes. We thought he might have something. We’re trying to get it together.”
“Are you going to have to postpone his admission?”
“We hope not, but quite possibly.”
I don’t think I’ll tie that yellow ribbon just yet.
The photo shows the oak tree whose branches spread over our roof.
There are many other oak trees nearby of a similar size, but none of them quite as massive as this one.
It has a quiet presence, suggesting companionship.
Its progeny is not quiet, however. It likes to make a great deal of noise with each impact, and to masquerade variously as pistol shots, explosions, breaking china, heavy feet, armies of wild boar creeping up – anything, in fact, which the imagination can conjure up.
One of the downsides of this exciting performance is that the rainwater downpipes get choc-a-bloc with a sort of acorn cake cemented with soggy leaves, something which comes to light when the rain starts, as it did today.